Thursday, January 29, 2015

Would you believe it's been 10 years???

I started this blog in 2005 and only just now thought to do a post about it. Started this blog while I was still at Morehouse and a lot has changed from that time.

During this period of time blogs were starting to get a lot of attention and now it's social media. Facebook was starting to get off the ground during this time and  YouTube as well. And now we have other social media sites to keep our attention.

The iPhone hadn't been created yet in 2005 and smartphones in general were pricey. Well cell phones in general were pricey although by 2005 prices had started to go down. At that point I had a phone that didn't cost me anything but a phone contract. Also the phone of choice back then was a flip phone!

Some my posts during the Morehouse College years - admittedly the longest period of my young life as it took me a while to graduate - involved Morehouse. Then after transitioning from college life the work world although to be honest I haven't found a "Morehouse man job".

Also I've started other blogs - such as The Sixth Ward - and it has taken off more than I could've ever imagined. There are still other blogs that I post to from time to time but they're still as important as this blog and The Sixth Ward. While I had been invited to post to other blogs such as Rich Miller's Illinoize or Gaper's Block this is the blog that started it all!

I'm sure I missed plenty of things, but hey it is what it is. Hopefully I can work on 10 more years.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sometimes I miss things like this on Twitter

So our new Governor hasn't been in office for almost two weeks and he's showing us his road trip to Springfield. Of course he made some stops along the way especially seeing some state troopers and a quick stop for his dogs and some Micky D's. And you would think he's driving in a fancy luxury car right?

Well this tweet is from one of the governor's staffers.
The last time I saw that vehicle it took him to the south side to make a deposit at a neighborhood credit union. So if it got to the south side safe and sound as a candidate for Governor, it could get him to Springfield our state capitol.

At least we can say this for Gov. Rauner, at least he forgo a trip on a state aircraft as one of his predecessors Rod Blagojevich had. And for good measure he came home to the executive mansion in Sprinfield as well.
Here's hoping this is what we can look forward to the next four years. A traveling Governor showing us around the great state we call Chicago...I mean Illinois.

BTW, hopefully I can catch this stuff on Twitter when I see it. :P

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

So today a series of CTA rail cars are being retired

The Boeing-Vertol made 2400 series are being retired today. Often cars such as these were what made our some of my trips to downtown Chicago with my mother when I was younger. If you got to the front car you could literally hear them whistle down the tracks.

The pic above I had found on instagram and posted to the account for The Sixth Ward. And what's exciting is that these cars have been repainted in the livery probably what was used back in the 1970s and way before CTA decided to just go bare metal on their cars.

Well unfortunately I missed out on the retirement of these cars and it seems they're not letting passengers ride on them for one last time. While I've only seen a pic of them online I did see a train of these cars rolling by on my way home tonight.

The last time they did a public retirement was for the Budd made 2200 series cars. These cars were available for the public to ride before retirement. These cars have what are called blinker doors.

If I may explain the blinker doors are what I would call bus-style doors. The doors would close inward like they would on most city buses. These were the most eyecatching features for me especially since most of the time on the L I would board a train with typically sliding doors.

Before I knew the term blinkers I only referred to this as bus-style. And on CTA these were common at least before the recently trend to make public transit handicap accessible. In fact the 2200 series were the last CTA rail vehicles with blinkers and others had been retired much earlier.

Regardless it just means the CTA is entering the 21st century especially with the new 5000-series cars that have much more advanced amenities. And yet again CTA does plan on ordering a new series of cars.

ALSO you know what this means the next old cars to be retired are CTA's Budd made 2600 series. Before CTA got rid of conductors on all trains these cars had nifty controls where insted of some time of level to pull to open/close doors was a matter of pushing a button. For the most part conductors stood near the rear of the car away from where-ever the motorman cab was.

Since CTA did away with conductors basically trains are OPTO - one person train operation. One person drives the train and that same person insures that the doors are opened for passengers. So the 2200, 2400, and 2600 series were refitted for that purpose and also for these refits that means I couldn't sit at the front of the train anymore as I had as a child.

I forgot about the 3200 series which primarily ran on the brown and orange lines of the CTA. You may have also seen them on the Skokie swift but it seems that line uses a variety of cars during its operations. Either way they were made with OPTO in mind, however, these are the last cars CTA ordered in the 20th century. Soon their time for retirement will come as well.

BTW, YES the airplane manufacturer Boeing did build trains once upon a time. They even made some light-rail equipment used in Boston & San Francisco over the years. However it's safe to say they got out of that business.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saw "Selma" recently

On Sunday, I finally got a chance to see Selma. It's a movie based on the voting rights march between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. It literally started off with a bang being inside of a church that literally blew up with four little girls inside.

It illustrated a lot of points for me in my belief in how successful the civil rights movement of the 1960s was. Mainly TV helped to advance the causes especially since many southern politicians and law enforcement proved to be very aggressive in combating the civil rights activism. Many people risked their lives and bodies for what was right for all Americans.

It's wrong to make it onerous for American citizens to be able to vote and have a voice in their own communities. It's onerous make a certain segment of the population to sit in the back of the bus. It's certainly onerous to have separate classrooms for Americans of different ethnicitis and even more to insure one group had a better education than the other.

I could go on & on, but the point I wanted to make is that in attempting to keep the system as it was the American people of the 1960s saw how brutal and violent it was. There were forces in Selma, Alabama who fought to keep the system that existed then. We could also theorize something else was going on in the lives of these law enforcement personnel that caused them to brutalize unarmed citizens.

Off of the front-line, the southern politicians knew this would become a political or PR nightmare. And we need not worry about only then Governor George Wallace, then President Lyndon Johnson who was clearly engaged with the civil rights movement wanted to move forward with other political objectives. In the end he had been forced to move voting rights forward instead of finding himself on the wrong side.

Perhaps in the end regardless of how many heads police cracked open and regardless of how the KKK terrorized the Black populations of the south the end was near for the south as they knew it. No aggression would change the tide and if the world was watching on TV - with only three major channels and no 24/7 news networks - perhaps all they did was make themselves villains.

Having seen this film at Ford City - which is my first visit there since the 1990s - it was a great time to pay a visit in a theater that had been recently refurbished. A great movie based on history and of course a reminder of where we have gone and what it takes to make changes in America.

Friday, January 16, 2015

#Smackdown is now on Thursday nights

[VIDEO] This is where the show originally started anyway back on this ancient network known only as UPN - the home of Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek Enterprise, Moesha, Girlfriends, and seemingly other forms of ethnic/racial themed programming.

Regardless, I'm suffering through some form of withdrawals as I'm missing this tradition although well I saw the show last night. So how is it there is an urge on my part to change to its current home SyFy? And also moving to Friday nights was a relatively recent event not sure when it started but as stated it was often aired on Thursday nights for most of its history.

Either way, going through withdrawals I've just now find this video which you're able to find at WWE's YouTube channel which showed the many superstars who wrestled before they became famous. This includes Mick Foley, the Hardy Boys, and even Dean Ambrose.

A cool look back and makes up for not having Smackdown on Friday nights.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Allegations against Cosby

The allegations against comedian Bill Cosby has been nothing new. The allegations have been out there for years, but they've come back to the forefront near the end of 2014. This time it seems much different.

Today I saw an article from his TV wife Phylicia Rashad who came out in support of Cosby. She believes there is a concerted effort to hurt Cosby and get him off of TV. Indeed, Cosby's groundbreaking sitcom of which Rashad and Cosby were leads have been taken off the air as a result.

Another related story Keshia Knight Pulliam - who played Cosby's TV daughter - had been fired from celebrity Apprentice by Donald as she didn't want to call her TV dad for a donation. She believed it was inappropriate as she hasn't maintained constant contact with Cosby. Of course it's unrelated to the charges against him although she did answer some questions about it later.

For the most part, I've striven to remain neutral. I'm not sure where the truth lies although right now this is something of a media sensation. A media sensation that has taken The Cosby Show off the air and Cosby was forced to resign from Temple University's board or even the indefinite suspension of an endowed chair over at Spelman

Some of the people who have come out recently are names we may have heard from. For example model Beverly Johnson, model Janice Dickinson, and actress Michelle Hurd has come out and alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted them.

Again, I wish I knew where the truth lies. It seems for the moment there are people who either believe Cosby did the deed or not. It seems someone as Ms. Rashad who did support Cosby and seemed to have dismissed the women who claimed they were assault took a beating for her comments.

Still, hopefully one day the truth will come out. Perhaps we'll eventually know what happened with these women and Cosby. In the meanwhile, while the news gains traction Cosby will continue to have his reputation beaten up.

As he apparently had at the Golden Globes, YIKES. And here's a timeline of allegations I just found.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

This guy is crazy...

[VIDEO] What does one say about a man sprays enough water for two coats of ice onto his trampoline and then purposely jumps onto it? Well I call him crazy, but hey different strokes...

All the same it looks like he didn't hurt himself and merely hurt the ice more as it appeared to have just shattered on impact. Perhaps I should see if there are more videos after that made by this man.

Hat-tip WGN!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Happy New Year

It's four days into 2015 - which is in fact the 10th year this blog has been publishing - and I've yet to acknowledge this fact. And typicially in the days before or perhaps even after the new year everyone starts discussing resolutions.

The thing about resolutions is that I and probably most of us never really follow through on them. Resolutions are good to have although throughout the course of a given year we may resolve to do different things and those prove to be easier to accomplish than what we set out at the start of a new year.

I have a different set of resolutions and I'll just call them goals. Perhaps that's what a resolution is anyway a set of goals we hope to accomplish. Surely it depends on the tenacity that we set out to achieve them.

For the new year I have set out some goals employment wise as at the end of the year resulted in me going back to the drawing board in my job search. We will always have setbacks but one goal I have for this year is to finally procure something full-time.

Beyond that I'm sure there are others I would like to find although one thing could be said about 2014...the job hunting streak ended and I found a new job for sure. Perhaps this year greater things will happen for me in the future.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Have you ever been to Chicago and took the L?

[VIDEO] I've been an L rider all my life. Spent many a Saturday in my youth riding to downtown with my mother when she used to work at a bank downtown. Now I spend a lot of time on the CTA getting to school or work or just getting out of the house for a few hours.

Today I have a tourist piece for you. Strangely enough I'm starting with the yellow line aka Skokie Swift. Skokie is an adjacent suburb of Chicago and the CTA does have L service which travels to nearby suburbs such as Skokie, Evanston, Cicero, Oak Park & Forest Park.

Either way I realised that I've traveled on almost everyline of the CTA L system. Only recently - that is within the last 10 or so years my travels have taken me to all of the CTA's colored lines.

When I attended community college in downtown Chicago I traveled the blue line to O'Hare, Forest Park and 54/Cermak. Now the 54/Cermak branch is part of the pink line as a result of service changes. I also took the train from Ashland/63 and Cottage Grove to get downtown via the green line. Also I traveled the red line from 95th all the way to Howard and changed to the purple from Howard to get to Linden. Finally I took the orange from downtown to Midway and back.

Since then I've taken the pink line with some video that needs to be digitized in the future. Also for the first time I took the brown line all the way to Kimball and took the green line to it's west side terminal at Harlem Avenue. Since I've started working I've taken the yellow line on two occasions mainly to get up to Old Orchard mall and that means I'd have to take the bus from the Skokie stop.

I forgot to note the quirk of the purple line. While the purple is a local service within Evanston when it stops at Howard it becomes an express during rush hour with no stops until Belmont. When I worked briefly in Evanston to make up some time I took the express train to get to work there.

Needless to say there have been many interesting adventures on CTA as you can sometimes tell if you follow me on twitter. If only I had such a tool during the pre-twitter/social media days.

There's more videos of other CTA routes via their YouTube page.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WBEZ: Gov Quinn signs making 'revenge porn' a felony

I had to figure out wtf is revenge porn. Quinn who will be our Governor until January 12, 2015 signed a measure into law banning the distribution of private materials without a person's consent. So this is something of a anti-cyberbullying measure.

Nothing important to say, just found this to be very interesting. :)